Marina Cooke


(Feb. 28, 2007)

Former Powell resident Marina Cooke died Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Golden Living Center (Sandhills Manor) in Broken Bow, Nebr. She was 85.

She was born Columbia Lavinia Zampedri on March 6, 1921, on the Atlantic Ocean near Gibraltar on the British flagship, Columbia, in transit to the United States. She entered at Ellis Island, N.Y., on March 12, with her parents, Angelo and Amelia (Fachini) Zampedri, from Viarago, Italy.

After the death of her parents, she was adopted by John and Mary Poletta, and was called "Marina" by her family. She was raised in Denver with her step-brother, Felix Poletto, and graduated from North High School in Denver on June 9, 1939.

She married Anthony L. Carlin in Denver in 1939. She became a naturalized citizen on July 9, 1943, and officially changed her name to Marina. She married George E. Cooke of Laramie on June 6, 1946, in Scottsbluff, Nebr. They lived in various Wyoming communities, then moved to Broken Bow in 1958, where George was employed by the Nebraska State Bank. The couple returned to Wyoming in 1961, where they spent most of their lives until returning to Broken Bow in 1977 from Jackson. In Powell, George Cooke was president of American National Bank.

Marina was extremely proud of her U.S. citizenship, and interested in people, her community and her country. She was an avid reader, knowledgeable in civic affairs and she loved to "talk politics" with anyone. She was a dedicated community volunteer and participant in local, state and national politics. She was an original organizer of the Head Start program in Powell and served as chair of the Park County Republican Women. She was vice president of the Wyoming State Republican Women and appointed a delegate to the 1972 Republican National Convention.

Marina delivered mail to AIDS/HIV hospital patients in Palm Desert, Calif., and while in Jackson, volunteered as a tutor/mentor in the elementary schools, a grief counselor for the hospital, and served as a financial officer, deacon, and elder in her community churches.

Above all, Marina adored her family of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She attended their activities whenever possible and took great pride in their individual accomplishments and family life. She was an exquisite cook renowned for her Italian cuisine, and her holiday dinners remain legendary among family members. The later years of her life were devoted to the care of her husband of 55 years, George, until his death.

Marina was preceded in death by her parents; husband George; her brother and sister-in-law, Felix and Grace Poletto; and a young sister, Olga Poletto.

She is survived by two children, Judy (Lonnie) Lindner of Ansley, Nebr., and Brec Cooke (Jeannine Winch) of Washington, D.C.; three grandchildren, Paula (Russ) Smith of Broken Bow, Nebr.; Oliver Cooke (Jessica Pena) of Philadelphia, Penn.; Anthony Cooke (Tamlin Engle) of Tempe, Ariz.; two great-grandchildren, two nieces, and a nephew.

Memorial services will take place Saturday, March 10, 2 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Broken Bow. Memorials may be sent to the Golden Living Center Activity Fund of Broken Bow.

Iverson Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.